Last week, we discussed how a church’s building design communicates to its attendees. While growth is the goal for a church, commencing a church expansion project requires careful consideration. If you expand too early, you might not see the return on your investment. If you wait too long, your congregation and membership may suffer.
To avoid this uncertainty, our church architecture and design expert consultants identified the areas and indicators to answer your church construction questions like “What do you build?”, “When do you build?”, and “Should you expand now or later?” Here is our second part to your church expansion inquiries.
Previously we discussed what reaching 80 percent of your building’s capacity means for your worship space. Truth is, if your worship space is at 80 percent capacity then in all likelihood, your parking lots are full too. The experience of entering and exiting your campus are key first impressions for a visitor to your church.
It’s common to require a minimum ratio of one car to every three or four seats in your worship facility based on the average family size. What’s your parking lot’s current capacity? If you’d like your church to expand, additional parking should be considered a part of that expansion. Develop a site master plan to study what your entire campus currently offers. Then identify what constraints your property has for your future facility needs.
ENVIRONMENT & SETTING
While there is a comfort and ease to keeping things the same, you may get used to something and unable to see the changing quality of the appearance of your campus. Is your landscaping regularly maintained throughout the seasons? How clean and maintained are your sidewalks and parking lots? Do your exterior elements need to be updated? What do your furniture, finishes and lighting communicate about your church fellowship?
The overall environment of your church makes a lasting first impression about your congregation and staff and it influences whether or not visitors return. Accelerate growth by matching your church’s personality inside and out, utilizing wasted space and regularly maintaining the look and functionality of your exteriors and interiors.
Consulting with architecture and design professionals with experience in church building designs can help determine the right path for your church’s facilities. Growth is an exciting part of the ministry but don’t let it overwhelm your congregation or deter from your mission.
Church expansion issues should be dealt with to foster growth, yet they should never take precedence above the church’s mission to foster relationships with your community. Proverbs 21:5 says, ‘The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.’ Don’t let your facility be a barrier to your mission. Work with professional architecture and design consultants such as the experts at Studio Four Design to make a plan that addresses your growth and other facility barriers while still being stewards to your mission.
Stacy L. Cox, AIA, is President of Studio Four Design